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Method: ‘Are you Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander?’: improving data collection at BreastScreen Victoria

By Karen Adams, Anne Kavanagh and Jill Guthrie


Abstract Objective: To evaluate the ascertainment and recording of clients' Indigenous status at BreastScreen Victoria (BSV) by assessing: staff compliance with best practice recommendations in ascertaining Indigenous status data collection practices; and the consistency of recording of Indigenous status between visits. Methods: The Australian Bureau of Statistics/Australian Institute of Health and Welfare best practice recommendations for collecting Indigenous status data were compared against BSV practices. One hundred and thirty‐three BSV staff were also surveyed about their practices of ascertaining Indigenous status. An audit of the consistency of recording Indigenous status at first and most recent visit to BSV was also conducted. Results: Current ascertainment and recording of Indigenous status by BSV staff does not comply with best practice recommendations. A high proportion of staff were not ascertaining Indigenous status (34%), and/or perceived they were prevented from asking women whether they were Indigenous (53%). The consistency of recording of Indigenous status between women's visits was also low. Implications: Our findings are likely to be found in other services where collection of Indigenous status data occurs. To improve data collection, services need to: ensure questions regarding Indigenous status comply with best practice recommendations; provide staff training regarding the importance of collecting the information; and improve Indigenous participation and control of data collection and dissemination

Topics: Public aspects of medicine, RA1-1270
Publisher: Wiley
Year: 2004
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1467-842X.2004.tb00924.x
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